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Christopher Skase

Christopher Skase was a businessman born in Melbourne in 1948, and died in 2001. Throughout his life he was married twice and had one step daughter. His career stated as a stockbroker, than a finance journalist. However, his business career began when he bought a small tin-mining company called Quintex on the mid-1970’s. This company became a household name within 10 years and Skase bought up the national Channel Seven network and controlled 66% of the Australian television market. In the 1980’s he was one of the most glamorous of entrepreneurs, and Quintex was worth $1.5 billion. He also owned 5 resorts, two called ‘Mirage’ in Queensland.

Although he wanted to be known for his life of luxury and good taste, he often appeared as a symbol of vulgar excess. For his 40th birthday party in 1988, and company Christmas party that cost $450,000. In 1989, Skase’s attempt at buying MGM-United Artists movie studio for $1.5billion dollars feel apart under expensive lawsuits. He could not pay for the first portion of the payment ($25 million). Prolonged pilots’ strike damaged his tourism interests, and rising interest rates and a credit squeeze helped bring Qintex badly unstuck. Skase was forced to sell half of his resorts to Japanese investors. During this time he also began moving money into foreign bank accounts in July.

Within October, Skase began to fall out with the Quintex board, demanding that the board pays $13.5 million to a private company that he owned, and they refused. However, the money had already been removed. He also threatened to leave if he did not receive a pay rise, and they refused. Qintex then collapsed, leading to the collapse of the State Bank of Victoria. In the end, Skase had personal debts of $172 million and corporate debts of $1.7 billion. 1991 he fled to Spain, a country with no extradition treaty with Australia, and thumbed his nose at the authorities and their claims of 60 criminal charges and debts of A$1.5bn. He topped Australia’s “most wanted” list for 10 years but, in what became known as the “Skase Chase”, successfully beat all attempts to bring him to justice, claiming he was too ill to travel.

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